Sex education funding is largely up to state and local governments — that includes whether or not sex education programs are funded at all, and how much they are funded. In 2010, President Barack Obama started two small funding streams to teen pregnancy prevention programs: the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP). These were created to provide funding and support for sex education programs that are backed by science, proven to increase safer sex and help young people prevent unintended pregnancy.
Funding for Sex Education Before Obama
Before these programs, the only federal funding for sex education was for abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) programs. In fact, since 1982 Congress has funneled more than $2 billion (with a b) into AOUM programs that withhold critical information about birth control and STIs. These AOUM programs often use shame and scare tactics to promote abstinence as the only option for young people.
While programs like TPPP and PREP don’t cover the full scope of what sex education can be, they’re often the closest thing to sex education that many young people will get. This makes them important programs we as advocates must protect. We need to fight to ensure that these sex education programs continue to receive proper federal funding.